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Saturday, July 15, 2017

Chinese Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo dies in custody, struck by liver cancer Thursday July 13,2017

Chinese Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, a prominent dissident since the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests, died on Thursday July 13,2017 after being denied permission to leave the country for treatment for late-stage liver cancer.

Liu, 61, was jailed for 11 years in 2009 for "inciting subversion of state power" after he helped write a petition known as "Charter 08" calling for sweeping political reforms

Liu Xiaobo came to prominence following the 1989 pro-democracy protests centered in Beijing's Tiananmen Square, which he called the "major turning point" in his life. Liu had been a visiting scholar at Columbia University in New York but returned early to China in May 1989 to join the movement that was sweeping the country and which the Communist Party regarded as a grave challenge to its authority.

When the Chinese government sent troops and tanks into Beijing to quash the protests on the night of June 3-4, Liu persuaded some students to leave the square rather than face down the army. The military crackdown killed hundreds, possibly thousands, of people and heralded a more repressive era.

Liu became one of hundreds of Chinese imprisoned for crimes linked to the demonstrations. It was only the first of four stays in prisons owing to his ideology.

His final prison sentence was for co-authoring "Charter 08," a document circulated in 2008 that called for more freedom of expression, human rights and an independent judiciary in China. Although Liu wasn't the initiator, he was a prominent force behind it and already well known to the authorities.

The sentence only increased Liu's prominence outside of his country.

In 2010, while Liu was serving his sentence in a prison in a small city in China's northeast, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, with the Norwegian-based committee citing Liu's "long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China."

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